Melting Ice on Arctic Islands a Major Player in Sea Level Rise

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Sandbags -Mirlo Beach Looking North – Hatteras Island – NC12. Photo source: ©© County of Dare

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Melting glaciers and ice caps on Canadian Arctic islands play a much greater role in sea level rise than scientists previously thought, according to a new study led by a University of Michigan researcher.

The 550,000-square-mile Canadian Arctic Archipelago contains some 30,000 islands. Between 2004 and 2009, the region lost the equivalent of three-quarters of the water in Lake Erie, the study found. Warmer-than-usual temperatures in those years caused a rapid increase in the melting of glacier ice and snow, said Alex Gardner, a research fellow in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences who led the project…

Read Full Article, UMICH

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A true-color satellite image of the northern Canadian Arctic Archipelago that was part of this study. Image source: NASA/GSFC

One Year On, Photographer Captures Lingering Impacts of the Gulf Oil Spill

Associated Press photographer Gerald Herbert, a New Orleans native, has been covering the Gulf oil spill ever since BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and sank exactly one year ago.

Gerald Herbert’s work captured the environmental and personal toll of the oil spill along the Gulf Coast. Over the course of the last twelve months, Herbert has been covering the results of that explosion and narrates a slideshow of his images from the spill’s early days and the subsequent struggle to clean up the coast and rebuild the coastal economy.

Original Article

Featured photograph by: ©© Lance Cheung

Summerland Beach’s Oil Seepage Mystery

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Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
Old wells, new problems: Once upon a time, Summerland, California, was the offshore oil drilling capital of the county. And while the wells were abandoned nearly a century ago, many Summerland residents feel that the unprecedented amounts of oil washing up on their beaches in recent months may be the result of these old petroleum-harvesting spots. Santa Barbara historical museum.

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Long since abandoned, century-old oil wells off the coast of Summerland, California, were vilified early this month, at the County Board of Supervisors.

Responding directly to public cries of concern about a relatively recent increase in the amount of oil washing up along the beaches of Summerland and floating just offshore, the supervisors voted unanimously to send a letter to the state regulatory agencies in charge of the old wells, demanding an investigation into the alleged leaks.

Before it became the quaint coastal antiquing capital of the South Coast that it is today, with a reputation for stunningly scenic and often empty beaches, Summerland was the hub of Santa Barbara’s oceanic oil rush at the start of the 20th century, the beach providing ground zero for a series of piers and primitive oil rigs harvesting crude from hundreds of offshore wells…

Read Full Article, Ethan Stewart, Independent

Summerland, South Coast residents up in arms over oil seeps

US Coast Guard slams Transocean

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Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire aboard the mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon, while searching for survivors April 21, 2010. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon’s 126 person crew. Captions and Photo source: U.S. Coast Guard

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The US Coast Guard slammed drilling rig operator Transocean’s “poor safety culture” in a report Friday on the massive explosion and fire that unleashed the biggest maritime oil spill in history.

Poor maintenance, inadequate training and the bypassing of alarms and automatic shutdown systems prevented the crew from shutting down the runaway well after it blew and led to a chaotic abandonment of the blazing Deepwater Horizon rig…

Read Full Article, AFP

Plastic Pollution Present on Easter Island’s Beaches

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Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

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“A peak of wind over 40 knots (a lot) rocked us out of the South Pacific and we finally reached Easter Island, the end point of our trip with the 5 Gyres project exploring plastic pollution in the ocean.

Our arrival to one of the world’s most isolated pieces of habitable land (2,000 miles from the nearest continent and 1,400 miles from the nearest habitable island) was not without glamour: our boat anchored in Anakena, the kind of white sand turquoise water beach that populates desktop wallpapers.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before we started to see the effects of ancient and current human impact in this amazing place…

Read Full Article, By Paula Alvarado, Treehuggers and the latest 5 Gyres Mission

Plastic Pollution and Chile Coastline, The Latest 5 Gyres Mission

It Is confirmed: There ‘s Plastic in All of the Subtropical Gyres

Plastic Pollution, Coastal Care

Record trash haul from New Jersey beaches

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Plastic containers litters the beach in Sandy Hook, N.J. Clean Ocean Action, the environmental group that has been doing beach sweeps for 25 years, released their Annual Beach Sweep report for 2010, Tuesday. Photo source: ©© Birgit Speulman

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A report issued by the environmental nonprofit organization Clean Ocean Action paints a grim picture of New Jersey beaches.

In their Annual Beach Sweep report for 2010, the organization broke down the 475,321 pieces of trash its 8,372 volunteers removed from New Jersey beaches during two statewide clean-up events last year.

A record amount of trash was picked up along New Jersey beaches last year, including a kitchen sink.

The report shows record numbers of many pieces of litter including 43,113 food wrappers, 61,895 bottle caps and lids and 45,903 cigarette filters. These items, along with pieces of plastic, straws, foam, beverage bottles, pieces of lumber, cigar tips, shopping bags, miscellaneous paper and glass were the most frequently found items on New Jersey beaches…

Read Full Article, MSNBC<

Clean Ocean Action, 2010 Report

Endangered places around the world

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French Polynesia. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

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We all know that climate change melts glaciers and shifts sea levels. But have you ever thought about how rising temperatures can threaten beautiful places in every corner of the world? Some of these spots may be closer to home than you think.

In celebration of Earth Day, Yahoo! News interviewed Gaute Hogh, publisher of the book 100 Places to Go Before They Disappear (distributed by Abrams in the U.S.). Hogh was inspired to produce the book after witnessing the effects of global warming in his native Denmark. He wanted to show how natural beauty around the globe could be forever altered by climate change…

Read Full Article, AP

100 Places Website

New Caledonia’s Lagoon: Better Understanding for Better Protection

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New Caledonia boasts the largest lagoon in the world, surrounded by a 1,600 km coral reef (second largest in the world), which stretches over approximately 24,000 square kilometres and is home to rich variety of endemic tropical fauna. the coral reefs around New Caledonia support an unusual diversity of species, including large numbers of predators and big fish, turtles, and the world’s third-largest dugong population. Photo source: ©© Eustaquio Santinamo

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New Caledonia possesses the second largest coral reef lagoon on Earth and harbours an exceptional biodiversity. The island is also the world’s third most important nickel producer.

Ore extraction over the 20th Century has in places tripled the input of sediments and accompanying pollutants, such as metals, in the marine environment. This observation was the impulse for a wide-ranging multidisciplinary research project, run from 2000 to 2008, aiming to determine the impact of this process on the lagoon ecosystem…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

3,200 Gulf wells unplugged, unprotected lie abandoned beneath the Gulf of Mexico

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Abandoned oil rig, Gulf of Mexico. Photo source: ©© Dave Malkoff

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More than 3,200 oil and gas wells classified as active lie abandoned beneath the Gulf of Mexico, with no cement plugging to help prevent leaks that could threaten the same waters fouled by last year’s BP spill, The Associated Press has learned.

These wells likely pose an even greater environmental threat than the 27,000 wells in the Gulf that have been plugged and classified officially as “permanently abandoned” or “temporarily abandoned…”

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Detail of a map showing geology, oil (in red) and gas (green) fields, in the Gulf of Mexico Region Illustration: U.S. Geological Survey US Geological Survey

Read Full Article, AP / CBS News

27,000 Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells in the Gulf of Mexico

The mission of the Santa Aguila Foundation is to raise awareness of and mobilize people against the ongoing decimation of coastlines around the world.

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